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Canucks Weekly Fares: Week 19 Recap

By: Brayden Fengler and Trent Leith / February 26, 2024  

Game 54: February 19th vs. The Minnesota Wild

You don’t want to read about this game. Just skip it.

It was bad. Like 10-7 bad. And it wasn’t a game that was back-and-forth, high-flying action. No. It was the Canucks blowing a 5-2 lead. In a matter of moments. This was a game of 3 goals off skates, four five-on-threes for the Wild, two empty nets and a hat trick of hat tricks. It was Wild, but not fun for Canucks fans.

The game started with the Canucks scoring two goals on two shots. The second goal was JT Miller scoring the first of three he would get.

We usually try to highlight all the goals in a game like this, but it is simply too many. And you won’t like it.

After Miller, Pettersson Scored his 29th goal of the season. After a very Sedin-like shift of possession and zone time.

JT Miller completed his hat trick with a beautiful power move. This is where you should choose to stop reading. The Canucks are up 5-2, all is well in the world, there is no need to carry on.

It is worth noting, Miller had three goals on three shots to this point of the game. PDO go brrrrrrr.

The Second period came to a close, but not before the Wild scored a goal after it was redirected by Ian Cole’s skate.

The third period is where it all collapsed. In the first 5:12 of the third period the Wild scored five goals.

Yeah, you read that right, five goals went past Casey DeSmith. It was a collapse not seen in, well I can’t think of such a rapid collapse in all my time watching hockey.

Zadorov and Boeser scored to bring the game to 8-7 and if you were watching the game, you talked yourself into thinking that the Canucks still had a chance. But the Wild put the game on ice by scoring two empty net goals.

This was a game that is not worth revisiting. At five-on-five, the Canucks actually played quite well, and for 2/3 of the game, they controlled play. But the epic collapse and undisciplined play led to the Canucks crashing like the Hindenberg.

I told you to skip this game.

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Game 55: February 20th vs. The Colorado Avalanche

On the second game of their road trip, the Canucks visited the mile-high city for the second time this season. Their last outing against the Avalanche ended in a 5-2 loss, so there is no doubt the Canucks were hoping for a different outcome.

This game was also a recent AHL call-up Arshdeep Bains’ first NHL game. The Canucks honoured this in classic fashion by giving him a rookie lap, letting Bains start the warm-up solo.

The first real chance of the period came just shy of two minutes in when Mikko Rantanen, on a rush into the Vancouver zone, fed the puck to Nathan MacKinnon through traffic and allowed MacKinnon to have an uncontested shot on Demko. The Canucks goaltender was thankfully able to gobble up that opportunity.

As the period continued Colorado had earned three shots on net after the quarter mark. However, Vancouver failed to register their first shot of the game until 13:35 left to play.

The Canucks did somehow earn the first laugh, however. In a play nearly identical to MacKinnon’s chance early in the frame a breaking-in Brock Boser fed the puck gently up the ice where it found J.T. Miller all alone, and Miller found the back of the net.

The Avalanche’s best chance to even the score came minutes later when Arshdeep Bains’ red carpet welcome extended all the way to the penalty box, after he was called for tripping against Ryan Johansen.

The Avalanche had a respectable cycle in the Canucks zone on the delayed penalty call and also tested Demko with a flurry of chances resulting in scrambles for the puck in front of the Canucks net. Demko redeemed Bains’ penalty, however, and the score remained 1-0 Canucks.

Vancouver looked to be controlling the bulk of the play towards the end of the period. A Bains and Boeser two-on-one in the final minutes of the frame – although it went without being capitalized on – still looked to paint a rosy picture of the Canucks’ control of the game to come.

The shots remained even as the second period got underway but Colorado defiantly entered the second period with something to prove. With just under three minutes of play having transpired in the period, Colorado answered back with a goal by Ryan Johansen. While in front of the net, Johansen picked up a point shot that missed just wide and backhanded it home past a slightly out-of-place Demko.

Both teams continued to exchange quality chances for the rest of the second period and it truly looked like it was anyone’s game. Both Demko and Alexandar Georgiev were putting on a showcase, highlighting how important they are to their respective teams.

The home team caught a break early in the final period with a Ryan Johansen wrist shot from the far point that found its way cleanly past Thatcher Demko.

The Canucks’ next best chance to tie the game came near the halfway mark when Elias Lindholm was gifted a wide-open backdoor opportunity that somehow, someway, stayed out of the net.

Moments later, a scramble in front of the Avalanche’s net resulted in the puck finding Filip Hronek in the slot while Georgiev was sitting on the ice, and still, that puck stayed out of the net.

The Canucks continued their streak of bad luck in this period with their only penalty of the third being an Ian Cole tripping. A call that appeared to be a little too weak for the liking of many Canucks fans and Rick Tocchet.

With the Canucks net empty in the final minute of play, Artturi Lehkonen put the game on ice with an empty net goal that put a final score of 3-1 up on the board, resulting in the Canucks’ third loss in a row, a situation they have not found themselves in… *checks notes*… all season.

Game 56: February 22nd vs. The Seattle Kraken

The Canucks took on the Seattle Kraken in the latest installment of the I-5alry. I-Fivealry? I don’t know. Anyways. The Canucks made the short trip down South to play the Kraken.

JT Miller opened the scoring, continuing his hot streak.

JT Miller is now at 29 goals on the season. The Canucks are on the brink of having three separate 30-goal scorers, Miller and Pettersson are soon to join Boeser in the 30-goal club.

Miller nearly joined it a few minutes later when he was sprung on a breakaway. Despite seemingly endless time and space, he shot the puck from the top of the circles for an easy save. Definitely a strange choice from Miller.

Vince Dunn tied the game at aces with a long bomb through traffic, beating Demko clean over the glove.

That is not a goal you see get past Demko often, but he seemingly lost the puck through the crowd. Another very un-Demko goal would follow at the start of the second period.

Unlike the first goal against, this one beat Demko cleanly with no crowd in front. It was simply a shooter against a goalie, and Demko was once again beaten glove side. I hate the saying, “The goalie wants that one back” because they want them all back. But I will make an exception here. This is one Demko can get 10/10 times, just not 10/11 times.

I miss Jared McCann.

Next up is Lafferty, who tied the game with a goal bouncing off his chest.

Pius Suter took a shot on the rush that went off a defender, off Lafferty and in. Once again, glove side. Glove side this game.

The Kraken broke the tie with another long shot. This time it was Justin Schultz from up high. Mattie Beniers drew Myers in front to help screen Demko.

Before the period ended, the Kraken would score again. This time the goal came from in close. Joran Eberle took a sneaky shot from a pass behind the net, and Demko made a great save. But Eberle got his own rebound and beat Demko on the second effort. Get this, glove side.

The only goal in the third period was an empty net goal by Eberle for his second of the game. Don’t worry, it was a very respectable, regular shot. No slap shot or anything crazy. The Canucks lost 5-2 and extended their losing streak to four games.

Game 57: February 24th vs. The Boston Bruins

Up until this point, the Canucks had not won a single game this week. After a disappointing display in Seattle, Vancouver hoped that a Hockey Night in Canada game against the Boston Bruins could finally give them the break they’ve been looking for.

The lines were shuffled around quite a bit before this contest. Newcomer Bains was back to the third line with Conor Garland, but this time centered by Elias Lindholm. Whereas Hoglander-Pettersson-Mikheyev now made up the second line.

Both teams traded chances early in the first. The most promising of which was a Garland Lindholm two-on-one that was harpooned by a poorly placed pass by Lindholm into the feet of Garland.

But perhaps the most exciting development of the first period happened off the ice, as time stopped and then reversed in Rogers Arena, to formally reintroduce the famed “Green Men”!

Despite the Canucks gifting Boston three power-play chances in the opening frame the first period ended without a goal from either side.

Early in the second, the Canucks earned a three-on-two chance led by Elias Pettersson, and featuring a trailing Nikita Zadorov. Pettersson gifted the puck back to Zadorov, but unfortunately, nothing came from Zadorov’s shot right into Swayman’s bread basket.

Boston earned the game’s first goal near the halfway mark of the frame when Jesper Boqvist was left all alone as he rushed into the slot, and the rest was history.

The pain kept coming for the Canucks. Off of the back of continued Boston pressure in the Canucks end, Boston’s Trent Frederic was able to try a wrap-around attempt from behind the Canucks net. Although his attempt did not find its way in, it centered the puck for Danton Heinen who found the back of the net.

The Canucks left the second period trailing by two, all while maintaining the lead in shot attempts.

The Canucks kept on the pressure in the second period, and it seemed like something could go their way any second. Just past the 14-minute mark of the period, the Canucks had even-strength possession in the Bruins’ end, leading to a flurry of chances in front of the net courtesy of Filip Hronek, Hoglander, and Mikheyev.

Minutes later, during a Canuck’s attacking zone possession, after a battle for the puck in deep, J.T. Miller was left uncontested just above the face-off circles in the slot. A position that allowed him to tickle the rafters with his stick, before firing a shot on Swayman that somehow still stayed out of the net.

It wasn’t until just before the halfway mark of the final period that the Canucks finally got on the board. A Miller faceoff win saw the puck find its way back to Zadorov who sent it along to Brock Boeser to snap it home.

The Canucks didn’t let up after this Boser goal either. They maintained the pressure they had been delivering to Boston all period and were once again rewarded. This time in the form of a Filip Hronek slap shot from the point that made its way cleanly to the back of the net.

The remaining 1:11 on the clock then ran down, and this game needed overtime. Just as was the case in the third, the Canucks controlled the bulk of the play in OT. In a fitting bookend to this game, the player who opened the scoring for the home team was the one who finished it off. A J.T. Miller slap pass to Boeser in the slot was all it took to put this game in the win column.

Vancouver could sleep soundly on Saturday night, as the good vibes around the Canucks had been restored.